Pick one verse from each member. Pretty simple. Here are mine:
Inspectah Deck - "Triumph" (off Wu-tang Forever)
Deck is the Clan's secret weapon. Probably the most conventional one in terms of style, his straight-up no frills approach demonstrates an extremely proficient grasp of technical rhyme structure and rhythmic dynamism. All-group tracks tend to bring the best out of him, and he brings his A-game from the first bar to the last in this lead-off verse which has become so iconic that when other members of the Clan perform this track solo, they just let the audience fill in every one of his lines.
Standout line: "Heads buy the score, take flight incite a war/Chicks hit the floor, die-hard fans demand more"
GZA - "Back In The Game" (off Iron Flag)
If there's one Clansman who can start with a single theme the basis of the verse and run with it, it's the Genius. Whether it's the music industry ("Protect Ya Neck", "Labels") or envisioning the rapper as a track & field runner ("Protect Ya Neck (The Jump-Off)" he simply has a knack for getting the most out of a metaphor. Here, he posits the Clan as high-stakes gamblers.
Standout line: "We were at the same table when the chips were checked. A gambling rebel who Inspects the Deck. Just when you thought we would fold our hand, against all odds we raised the bet like we changed the plan"
Method Man - "Gravel Pit" (off The W)
Meth has the most versatile flow in the group, making himself equally at home on overtly commercial tracks and dark, cerebral Wu-bangers. It's evident he's the only guy on this song who doesn't sound in over his head. Adapting his smooth, laid-back voice into a rapid-fire rap, he gives the song a more hyper feel than the beat probably deserves.
Standout line: "Pass the blunt, my nigga don't front. You had it for a minute but it seemed like a month. Now I'm chokin, smoking, hopin I don't croakin from overdosin"
Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Shame On A Nigga" (off Enter The Wu-tang: 36 Chambers)
It's impossible to explain how special ODB was. Maybe it's enough that on a song where beloved members Method Man and Raekwon both lay down a couple of their most memorable verses, Ol' Dirty completely owns the joint.
Standout line: "I come with that old local style from my vocals, couldn't peep it with a pair of bifocals. I'm no joker, play me as a joker, be on you like a house on fire, smoke ya!"
RZA - "Impossible" (off Wu-tang Forever)
You'd need a whole chapter's worth of end notes to understand what RZA is talking about here. But the words themselves are fun enough to listen to that the track works as a rambling, abstract sermon. I love how he mispronounces "benevolent" as "benelovent" and makes up the word "examin-ated".
Standout line: "My occupation is to stop the inauguration of Satan. Some claim that it was Reagan, so I come to slay men. Like Bartholomew cause every particle this physical article is diabolical to the last visible molecule"
Raekwon - "C.R.E.A.M." (off Enter The Wu-tang: 36 Chambers)
I've never been a huge fan of Raekwon. He was good on the first album and has faded into the background for me ever since. This verse is definitely his finest moment. Though it's telling that Deck's followup verse is arguably even better, and it's not even his best.
Standout line: "Yo, nigga respect mine, or anger the tec-9, ch-cha-POW! Move from the gate now"
Ghostface Killah - "The Projects" (off Wu-tang Forever)
This won't be a popular choice. But of all the Wu verses that leave me in hysterics, none of them is funnier than this one. I wonder whether Ghost was just trying to break the record for how many times he could use the word "p*ssy" in a verse without even rhyming it with anything.
Standout line: "Lightning rod bob, black candy cane attached to God
Thick, like a great adventure cigar, in your garage"
Masta Killa - "Duel of the Iron Mic" (off GZA's Liquid Swords)
I tried to avoid stuff from the solo albums for the most part, but this track, from GZA's 2nd solo album is too incredible to ignore. As for Masta, he's the most misunderstood member of the Clan. His style gets knocked because it's so unconventional - he rarely puts his rhymes at the end of his lines, and his borderline-comatose delivery can be hard to warm up to. I like him because he's one of the few rappers that can manage to sneak a complete sentence or two in the mix.
Standout line: "Who can withstand the astonishing, punishing stings to the sternum? Shock in the hip-hop livestock, seeking for a serum, to cure em"
U-God - "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'" (off Enter the Wu-tang: 36 Chambers)
U had the most f'd-up voice in the whole Clan on their first album, and that's saying something. Like Clint Eastwood's character from "Gran Torino" was black and chain-smoked cigars all through recording. This verse is the shortest in the whole song, but also the most unforgettable (unless you prefer Masta Killa's closing verse).
Standout line: "Weak MCs approach with slang that's dead, you might as well run into the wall and bang your head"
Cappadonna - "Winter Warz" (off Ghostface Killah's Ironman)
Another solo track, but also impossible to leave out. Cappa takes the last verse and manages to upstage U-God, Masta Killa, Raekwon and even Ghostface for two full minutes. You know how rappers always say they "can't stop/don't stop"? On this verse it literally feels like Cappadonna CAN NOT STOP. It's like he's on a runaway train of dope rhymes that only comes to an end because RZA cuts it off.
Standout line: "I'm too ill, I represent Park Hill, see my face on a $20 bill. Cash it in, and get $10 back, the phat LP with Cappa-chino on the wax"